The New York Jets picked up an exciting win on Sunday, but it means nothing if they can’t build on the newfound momentum.
The New York Jets won a game on Sunday afternoon, one week after they lost to the woebegone Miami Dolphins in South Beach. Hours after the Jets secured their W, Miami upset a playoff team in Indianapolis.
Thus, the biggest winners of the day were perhaps Jets head coach Adam Gase and his job security.
Sure, triumph came over their equally woeful MetLife Stadium roommates, the New York Giants. But the Jets are nonetheless winners again, able to enjoy the sweet taste of victory after three straight listlessly painful defeats.
Now at 2-7, the Jets aren’t in any new position to make a playoff push, even if quarterback Sam Darnold did hint at the possibility in his postgame availability. But signs of rare relief and visible joy were on display in the Jets locker room after taking a 34-27 victory from a game that was admittedly far more entertaining than any game between these New York squads should’ve been.
“I think this team did for sure. I think the way the defense got a couple of really good stops there at the end, as an offense we weren’t able to score on the last few possessions,” Darnold said, per transcripts provided by the Jets. “I think we can learn there and we can get better, but definitely we played very complimentary football today and I was really stoked about that.”
Gase was characteristically stoic in victory, but did express relief and hope about getting back into the left side of the standings.
“Anytime you win a game, that’s why we’re doing it. These guys have put in so much work and been consistent in practice,” Gase said. “You could feel it during the game. We were playing cleaner. There was a lot better execution. Guys were focused on one series at a time, which is great to see. I don’t think we’ve always done that, but tonight we did.”
The Jets finally played a decent game and came away with more points. Now comes the hard part. A signature win, after all, means nothing if it’s followed up by disappointment.
Granted, no one is moving the Jets up their power rankings for this win over the Giants. In the long run, the one thing the Jets may have won was a chance to force a few cameras and microphones over from Florham Park to East Rutherford, as the Giants will deal with coaching questions throughout this bye week. Heck, many fans may have forgotten about it by the time Sunday Night Football kicked off. But after the disaster in Miami, normalcy is back in the Jets locker room. They beat a team they were supposed to. These days, that passes for normalcy.
Sunday’s win was everything you wanted to see from a modern New York Jets game: defensive pressure, Sam Darnold making plays with his arms and feet, Le’Veon Bell getting a touchdown, Jamal Adams making visits to the opposing backfield and end zone alike.
Gone, at least temporarily are the rumors of tickets out of New York. The Jets can finally get back to playing football.
“I’m just happy for this group, that we gel together, we stay together,” a proud Adams said. “It didn’t bother our locker room because I’ve seen a lot of reports other players saying we have a lot of outsides noises. We block it out, we go to work each day, we come out here and have fun. We practiced and we came out here and showed it.”
Again, don’t go booking your tickets to South Beach. This teams is perhaps still ways, ways, ways, ways away from beating the Buffalo Bills, much less the New England Patriots. But the next weeks provided new opportunities.
Having finally taken advantage of an equally downtrodden opponent, the Jets have new chances to keep the good vibes going over the next four weeks before the finale against a playoff trio. Immediately coming up on the docket is their interconference finale against the Washington Redskins. A rematch with the Dolphins awaits at MetLife Stadium, as does a visit to winless Cincinnati. Their true test could come on Nov. 24 at home against a fringe playoff squad from Oakland.
Don’t even talk to the current Jets about obtaining their future teammates in the earliest stages of next spring’s draft. The only “tanks” that will be discussed in the locker room will come in discussions about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
“Today was not nearly a perfect game, but it was good enough for us to win. At the end of the day, that’s what you want to do, be good enough to win each and every game,” said Bell. “No game is going to be perfect. We want to get as close to perfect as possible and we still have a lot of room for improvement and to continue to grow.”
Work still needs to be done … a win against the woeful Giants was anything but easy. But all it takes is one win to change everything.
Jobs can be won or secured. Progress can be made. This season can mean something.